Saturday, July 12, 2014

A Summer Walk at Wellfield Botanic Gardens

We've had a beautiful, cool summer. It's nice to get out when it's not 100 degrees! We had an hour while in Elkhart recently and stopped by Wellfield Botanic Gardens. See our past visits here. The entrance is only $5 for adults and free for children 12 and under, so I could take the 5 of us for only $5. However, it is also FREE on Tuesdays. It's a great day to explore and learn about the plants and animals around us! Angie, the education coordinator, was creating a display of the flowers in bloom and where we could find them in the visitor's cottage when we arrived. It's neat to see what we might expect in various areas of the garden.

I had two older boys park themselves on a bench and read books (their request) while the younger boys and I walked around. What a pleasant place to read, next to the water. Do you like to read outside?


I would definitely call it a smelling tour! There is so much in bloom and everything smells great! We took time to stop and smell the flowers! There is a new sensory garden as well, with many veggies and such in it. We could smell the basil and such there.

I've been on a milkweed kick recently and was very happy to see milkweed along the ponds and in other areas. Have you smelled milkweed recently? It smells divine! If you like lilacs, go smell milkweed in bloom! I appreciate the gardens allow native plants to thrive in the area, while also adding more exotic plants that are beautiful to the mix.

It has been over a month since we've been here and there were exciting changes! Look what we found in the Adventure Garden. Fun! I know the boys will enjoy visiting these bronze sculptures just at their height! 
I think he likes the fox!

There are also two new heart sculptures, which are fun to see, especially when you're just a few feet tall!

Shortly after the fourth of July, we also enjoyed looking at the blossoms that reminded me of fireworks. They are plentiful! There are bursts of color throughout the gardens!

We always visit the elk while we're here. We discover something new. The youngest found painted ants under one. He keeps finding them outside our house, so it's natural he would be observant enough to find them here as well!

It was fun seeing these ducks take a break! Of course, the boys were interested! We were careful to not disturb them. 

My son was excited to see the "water bugs" in the water in the Adventure Garden. The water strider is fun to watch. There are new details, like these colorful, whimsical bird houses for added appeal throughout. 

I love that the boys can get so close to the water in this area. My children always get excited to see the Adventure Garden! It's what they ask for first. When we joined up with the older kids again, one remarked, "You didn't tell us you were going to the Adventure Garden!" We went back again a few days later, so he explored again!

The Sensory Garden is a new addition. It has many sensory laden plants, along with vegetables! The purple basil smelled great!

There are new sculptures nearby and a new texture under our feet. My kids were mesmerized by the crushed glass treatment in the path. When we passed by later, other children were as well. The attention to details is lovely in the gardens!

I love that even in sculpture, the powerful talons can be captured for us to see up close! I was very impressed by this detail as we walked during our visit. I think I was feeling a bit patriotic seeing the eagle. I also noted how eagles have made a great comeback. They are a story of hope for other endangered species.

The whole gardens are just eye candy! They are in the process of developing some areas; however, most areas are beautiful in any direction you look! The sculptures really add another layer to the beauty!

I saw this sign near the Japanese bridge and thought, this is how I feel here--happy! The beauty is soothing and calming. It uplifts my spirit.

We took a walk through the natural area to the right of the canopy. They use a special type of material for the path that is permeable--great! I noticed several snags were left in the area, which make this a nice habitat for many animals. A couple was out watching birds. They keep coming back to watch the progress of juvenile red tailed hawks that are nearby. The nest is in the gardens and they are growing up in a beautiful setting. 

It's just beautiful everywhere we look here!